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Disability Compensation is a monetary benefit paid to veterans who are disabled by injury or disease incurred or aggravated during active military service. The service of the veteran must have been terminated through separation or discharge under conditions that were other than dishonorable. Disability compensation varies with the degree of disability and the number of dependents, and is paid monthly. The benefits are not subject to federal or state income tax. The payment of military retirement pay, disability severance pay and separation incentive payments known as SSB (Special Separation Benefits) and VSI (Voluntary Separation Incentives) also affect the total amount of VA compensation.

Veterans with disability ratings of at least 30 percent are eligible for additional allowances for dependents, including spouses, minor children, children between the ages of 18 and 23 who are attending school, children who are permanently incapable of self-support because of a disability arising before age 18, and dependent parents. The additional amount depends on the disability rating. Veterans with certain severe disabilities may be eligible for additional special monthly compensation.

Agent Orange and Other Herbicides
Eleven diseases are presumed by VA to be service-related for compensation purposes for veterans exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides used in support of military operations in the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. The diseases presumed are chloracne or other acneform disease similar to chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, soft-tissue sarcoma (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma), Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx, trachea), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, prostate cancer, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-Cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease and parkinson's disease.

Veterans Exposed to Radiation
Veterans exposed to ionizing radiation while on active duty may be eligible for disability compensation if they have disabilities related to that exposure. To determine service-connection, factors considered include amount of radiation disease, gender and family history, age at time of exposure, the extent to which a sensitivity of exposed tissue. Conditions presumed to be service connected are all forms of leukemia (except for chronic lymphocytic leukemia); cancer of the thyroid, breast, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary tract (renal, pelvis, ureter, urinary bladder and urethra), brain, bone, lung, colon, and ovary, bronchiolo-alveolar carcinoma, multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease), and primary liver cancer (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated)

Prisoners of War
Former prisoners of war who were incarcerated for least 30 days are presumed to be eligible for disability compensation if they become at least 10 percent disabled from diseases associated with POWs. These presumptive diseases are avitaminosis, beriberi heart disease and ischemic heart disease where the prisoner of war experienced localized edema during captivity, chronic dysentery, helminthiasis, malnutrition including optic atrophy, pellagra and other nutritional deficiencies, psychosis, anxiety states and dysthymic disorder or depressive neurosis, post-traumatic osteoarthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer disease, peripheral neuropathy and residuals of cold injury to include arthritis, neuropathy and skin cancer at the site of the cold injury.

Allowances for Dependents
Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated at 30 percent or more are entitled to additional allowances for dependents. The additional amount is determined according to the number of dependents and the degree of disability. A disabled veteran evaluated 30 percent or more also is entitled to receive a special allowance for a spouse who is need of the aid and attendance of another person.

Gulf War Veterans
Gulf War Veterans who suffer from chronic disabilities resulting from undiagnosed illnesses may receive disability compensation. The undiagnosed illnesses must have appeared either during active duty in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations during the Gulf War or the a degree of at least ten-percent at any time since then through Dec. 31, 2001.

The following symptoms are among the manifestations of an undiagnosed illness: fatigue, skin disorders, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, neurological symptoms, neuropsychological symptoms, symptoms involving the respiratory system, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, abnormal weight loss and menstrual disorders. A disability is considered chronic if it has existed for at least six months.